Gearbox Selection Process for the Parcel Handling Industry

When we receive a package in the mail or on our doorstep, we never really stop to think about how it made it to our home. All we know is that we're glad that it is here without any damage, and the contents of the package are not harmed en route. 


For a package to get from point 'A' to point 'B', there are many factors that make the process flow seamlessly. From making sure the mailing addresses are correct, to meeting the required delivery date--everything needs to operate smoothly to keep the end-user satisfied. 


Most sorting facilities contain miles and miles of conveyor systems, and they all play an essential role in making sure all orders are processed accurately. The conveyor systems are set up into different sections based on their function, such as primary and irregular conveyors. There are also systems used to sort the packages from one conveyor to the other, depending on their destination. 





"How do I select the correct gearbox for my application?" 


When selecting the appropriate gearbox, there are two main points to consider.


1) Account for environmental factors such as the ambient temperature. Temperature data should be collected to get an idea of what temperatures the unit will be encountering during its everyday use. 


2) Determine the operation that the gearbox will be performing. 

Sorters, Feed belts, and diverters are just a few of the operations required in the facility. Each different operation has its own set of requirements that each gearbox needs to meet to select the correct product.



Sorters and diverters will see a lot of start and stop operations due to the nature of their design and function. When triggered, small rollers or plates are moved to change the direction of the packages to ensure they go to the correct area. That constant on/off scenario, with many load variations, can strain the gearbox. 


On the opposite end of the spectrum, the feed belts are running for long amounts of time under varying loading conditions. Feed belts usually run with little to no downtime. They serve as the central drive belt for all the sorters and diverters. Depending on the size of the packages, the belt can see a wide range of loads from very light to extremely heavy.



“Why chose Sumitomo gearboxes?”


A key factor for the parcel handling industry is reliability. The gearbox is a critical component within individual operations, and the conveyors that run 24 hours a day rely on the gearboxes to convert speed and torque into motion. Without proper maintenance, regardless of the gearbox design, the useable life of the gearbox could be significantly shorter than desired. 


Gearboxes used for any application in this industry must be able to withstand the demands of the facility. In the sorting areas, many of the gearboxes are used intermittently and need to be able to stand up to frequent starting and stopping. If one gearbox cannot take the abuse and fails, the downtime required for the repair could disrupt the entire flow of the distribution center. 


Because distribution companies cannot afford to be down for an extended period, Sumitomo offers options to predict these issues before they happen. Smart Gearbox technology makes reliance upon estimations, and the costly consequences, a thing of the past. The potential for a Smart Gearbox provides time and cost-saving solutions. Many different facilities, in a variety of proactive industries, are becoming more reliant on maintenance to keep their equipment running optimally. The ability to anticipate downtime allows the maintenance staff to prioritize its resources accordingly with our Smart Gearbox technology.


In 2020, shipping facilities are in unusually high demand with the COVID-19 Pandemic hindering shoppers from venturing to brick and mortar retailers. Social Distancing and mandated "shelter-in-place" orders have caused a surge for the need for essential goods such as toilet paper, food, and medical supplies. Amidst customers buying much-needed supplies to last weeks, shipping companies must be able to meet the demands. 


Sumitomo gear reducers and industrial gearboxes convey quality and efficiency and are built to last. We supplied our first unit into a parcel handling facility back in 1974, and now we help move thousands of miles of conveyors each day. When your customers demand reliability and on-time delivery, choose us to keep your operation moving. Sumitomo Cyclo® 6000 series gearmotors are available with ratings up to 235HP and ratios from 3:1 to 658,503:1. The gearmotors are maintenance-free, lightweight, compact and very rugged with a two-year warranty guaranteeing exceptional performance.


About Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Sumitomo Drive Technologies has been trusted by many to provide quality products and innovative solutions to help our customers solve their complex challenges. This rich history has made us a leading manufacturer of power transmission and control products such as gearmotors and industrial gearboxes for a wide variety of applications for leading brands around the globe. For more information about our products and services, please contact us.